August 2022 LEGO News Roundup
Let’s celebrate the 90th anniversary of The LEGO Group with some great articles from around the web.
August is typically quiet at The LEGO Group Headquarters in Billund, the traditional vacation month for many Europeans. This year is a bit different — The LEGO Group celebrated it’s 90th Anniversary by declaring August 10 as World Play Day 🙂.
The anniversary was celebrated earlier in the month with the release of two nostalgia-fueled heavy hitters, #10305 Lion Knights’ Castle celebrating a rich history of LEGO Castle sets (read our review), and #10497 Galaxy Explorer honoring the Classic Space by re-interpreting one of the most iconic sets in that theme.
The LEGO fan community also joined in the festivities, with articles celebrating 90 years of LEGO. In particular, Richard Jones at The Rambling Brick published a series of short articles highlighting the key innovations in each of the 9 decades since The LEGO Group was founded in 1932.
Key moments captured include:
- Creating the first Automatic Binding Brick in 1946 (a precursor to the LEGO brick).
- Opening the LEGOLAND theme park in 1968.
- Introducing the LEGO Minifigure in 1978.
- Releasing LEGO Mindstorns in 1998 (and numerous innovations since then).
I was unable to celebrate the anniversary this year, as I joined in the European tradition of vacationing in August with a family trip to the Canadian Rockies. (While LEGO was not the focus of the trip, our son brought a bag of DUPLO bricks that he enjoyed building with at every chance he could get.)
New at Brick Architect
- Review: LEGO #40568 Paris & #40569 London Postcards
Let’s take a closer look at the next two additions to the growing ‘Postcards’ series — inexpensive mini skylines for a younger audience, and let’s figure out which one rises above the rest!
I’m still putting the finishing touches on our review of #42145 Airbus H175 Rescue Helicopter – although I am already happy to recommend it to folks who want a large and intricate Technic build.
MOC of the Month
Sometimes, a clever play on words offers the inspiration needed to create something expressive and delightful; why shouldn’t a Bulldozer re-examine it’s namesake, anyways?
Through my 3 year-old son I have regained a childlike fondness for Heavy Equipment, which Portland LEGO Artist Maddison Stapleton exploited to great effect in this small, colorful model. It leaves me wanting for a children’s book or cartoon adaptation. (The model was inspired by the “Construction” theme this year at Brickfair, VA.)
- September 29 – October 2, 2022 – BrickCon 2022
Adult fans can participate in the longer four-day convention, or visit the Public Expo on the weekend (tickets available soon for around $12).
Register to attend virtual ($25) or in-person ($85) convention at afol.brickcon.org
Exciting new sets for AFOLs
The majority of sets for Holiday 2022 have already been released, but there are a handful of new sets this month of interest to the AFOL community.
First of all, I wanted to make readers aware that they are on sale now (since they frequently sell out). We aim to post our annual review of all five of the 2022 LEGO Advent calendars in October, but you if you have a ‘must have’ set you might want to buy it now.
- #60352 LEGO City Advent Calendar
287 pieces, $35, available now at LEGO.com
- #41706 LEGO Friends Advent Calendar
312 pieces, $35, available now at LEGO.com
- #76231 Guardians of the Galaxy Advent Calendar
268 pieces, $45, available now at LEGO.com
- #76404 LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar
334 pieces, $45, available now at LEGO.com
- #75340 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar
329 pieces, $45, available now at LEGO.com
Given the recent talk of inflation, you probably won’t be surprised to see a price hike in USA, with licensed advent calendars up to $45 (from $40) and unlicensed sets up to $35 (from $30). European customers are getting a better deal: €35 and €25 respectively (even though the EUR is exactly 1:1 to the USD at this time).
- #21335 Motorized Lighthouse
Initial opinion about the latest LEGO Ideas set has not been kind — not because it’s a bad set, but because the price seems awfully high.
2065 pieces, $300, available now at LEGO.com
- #76405 Hogwarts Express – Collectors’ Edition
If you love Harry Potter (and are able to separate the art from the artist), you might ‘need’ to add this UCS-style interpretation of the iconic Hogwarts Express and Platform 9 ¾ to your collection. (The shallow profile and short stature make it an unusually easy to display on a bookshelf for such a large set.)
5129 pieces, $500, available now at LEGO.com
- Series 23 Collectible Minifigure Series
I rarely highlight the Collectible Minifigure series since they often include some pretty lacklustre figures, but this series is absolutely packed with great figs so you can’t go wrong… I want a Turkey, Dragon, Reindeer, and Wolf Man.
$5, (or $30 for six-pack) available now at LEGO.com
Best articles from around the web
Here are some highlights this month from around the web – Happy reading!
- LEGO at 100: Predictions For The Next Decade of LEGO
Thoughtful reflections on things we might expect TLG to do in the next ten years. (I hope Sustainability and Diversity/Inclusion continue to play a major role!)
- Universal, LEGO Group Construct Five-Year Exclusive Film Partnership To Create New Movie Franchises
After the wildly successful “The LEGO Movie” in 2014, Warner brothers hasn’t managed to re-create that success in the sequel or in the Batman or Ninjago films. I’m excited to see the franchise rights moving into new hands; hopefully Universal can re-create the magic of the first film.
- LEGO IDEAS is no longer an affordable theme (Proven by graphs and data)
Jay provided a detailed analysis which supports what many of have already observed – that recent sets in the LEGO Ideas range are much larger and more expensive than in previous years, putting them out of reach for many fans.
—Jay’s Brick Blog
LEGO Ideas is one of the shining beacons of LEGO’s portfolio, and I think it’s a great disservice to LEGO fans if sets that are selected become increasingly out of reach.
- We can FINALLY reveal the platforms for LEGO Bricktales!
One of the more interesting upcoming LEGO videogames is inching closer to release with the annoucement of the many platforms which it will support. (PC, PS5, PS4, XBOX X|S, Xbox One and Switch)
—Thuderful Games (Via Twitter)
- LEGO LEGO Stores: The Ultimate Ultimate Guide
Take a somewhat meta journey through time, looking at the various LEGO sets featuring a brick-built LEGO store.
- Happy Micropolis Day!
A fitting retrospective of 14 years of the Micropolis standard – which allows many builders to create a city together using interlocking 16×16 stud panels.
- LEGO Pick-a-brick Online Updates, Novelty Restocks (PS: Sheep are Back!)
New and highly sought parts are slowly returning to the online Pick-a-brick website, thanks in part to The LEGO Group hiring more staff to work through existing backlog of orders. It’s rarely the cheapest way to get specialy parts, but it is often the easiest way to get them in larger quantities.
—Jay’s Brick Blog
- LEGO Updates VIP Point Redemption During Checkout
We can finally use our LEGO VIP points for a discount during check-out (instead of having to turn them in for a gift card first)!
—The Brick Fan
Design and Architecture:
I’m pivoting this section of my newsletter to explore broader topics beyond LEGO, with a focus on design and architecture. I hope you find this content half as interesting as I do.
- A Monument to Outlast Humanity In the Nevada desert, the pioneering artist Michael Heizer completes his colossal life’s work.
We freqently tackle the topic of Scale as LEGO artists, but it is ususally to build something much smaller than usual. This article explores a monumental artists life work, which interrogates scale itself by creating miles of massive sculptures in the middle of nowhere…
—The New Yorker
- 99% Vernacular
To celebrate their 500th episode, the team at 99% Invisble created three episodes of short stories highlighting some of their favorite regional design quirks. Because they are all worth listening to, I’ve highlighted my favorite mini-stories from each episode below…
- Volume 1 (38:09) – The second story offers a fun account of the practical and aesthetic benefits of the A-frame design for cabins in wintry locations. The final story interrogates the complex history of the Southern Front Porch, especially as it relates to racial tensions in that region of the United States.
- Volume 2 (35:19) – The third story introduced me to an architectural tradition I have limited awareness of – the transitional indoor/outdoor space known as the Lanais which was born in Hawaii but also became a fixture in Florida homes.
- Volume 3 (38:52) – The first story explains how the heavy concrete roof with a stairstepped pattern serves multiple roles in making Bermuda resilient to tropical storms and drought. The third story offers a somewhat absurd exploration of how the range of colors that can be considered “earth tones” have spiraled into legal disputes in Santa Fe, New Mexico.